UAS Registration Kicks Off; AMA Tells Members to Wait


The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Web-based registration system for small, recreational unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) went live yesterday, but the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is advising its members not to register just yet.

In a blog, AMA says its executive council has unanimously voted yes on “an action plan to relieve and further protect [its] members from unnecessary and burdensome regulations,” which includes the new requirement for hobbyist unmanned aircraft operators to register with the FAA.

AMA explains that it already instructs members to label their aircraft with their membership number or other identifying information. Additionally, the association has also been arguing that federal registration “runs counter to Congress’ intent in Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,” which “clearly states that the FAA is prohibited from promulgating any new rules for recreational users operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization,” explained Dave Mathewson, executive director of AMA, after the rules were released.

“While we continue to believe that registration makes sense at some threshold and for flyers operating outside of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes, we also strongly believe our members are not the problem and should not have to bear the burden of additional regulations,” AMA says in the blog.

Thus, the group suggests that its members “hold off on registering their model aircraft with the FAA until advised by the AMA or until Feb. 19.” Under the FAA rule, aircraft operated by the current owner before Dec. 21, 2015, must be registered no later than Feb. 19, 2016. For all others, registration is required prior to the first outdoor flight.

In the meantime, AMA plans to “fully consider all possible options” for addressing the registration requirement. Additionally, AMA says it will be able to “complete ongoing conversations with the FAA about how best to streamline the registration process for [its] members.”

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